DO NOT FREAK ME OUT registry

scream

I would like to make a statement.

Two of them, in fact.

#1.  Not changing, because of fear, is bad.
#2.  Changing, because of fear, is equally as bad.

Or, if you’d like to reduce them down even further:  Fear is bad.

I’m somewhat of an anxiety sponge, and I’ll own that.

I can take other people’s fears and allow them to amplify my own.

Because of that, I wish Facebook had a “low anxiety” setting that I could employ, because lately I’ve been hearing a whole lot of fear about The Church:

“Open letters” to the dying Church.

How-to articles to lessen the hemorrhaging of local congregations.

There are some constructive pieces, to be sure, but so much fear!

Fear about statistics.

Fear about schism.  Fear about the future.

I wonder sometimes — do folks know how contagious this stuff is?

People can read this stuff, and despair. (And then for some unexplained reason, click “share”.)

I’d like to join a DO NOT FREAK ME OUT registry.

I’d even take a test to be allowed to sign up:

__ Yes, I know about the general decline of Christianity in the United States.

__ Yes, I know that our churches have to work extra hard to be vital.

__ Yes, I know that our denomination is perilously at odds with itself on the issue of Homosexuality.

There, I’ve checked off all three.  I care very much, and am committed to doing my faithful share.

(Can I get back to Buzzfeed quizzes and pictures of funny cats?)

The truth is, any system that is in a high level of stress will not be fully functional.

So instead retraumatizing ourselves with the considerable challenges we face, let’s take a few deep breaths, praise God who reigns forever, and continue the joyful work of being, and making, Disciples.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Neat Freaking Out

’Slovenliness is no part of religion.’Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness.’”  –John Wesley

I’m a neat freak.

Every morning I get up and make the bed.   I pick up the dirty clothes.  Then I spruce up the bathroom and empty the trash.    Occasionally I wipe down the mirrors so there aren’t any streaks.  Every few mornings I vacuum.   It’s a kind of ritual I have…

And it’s killing me.

You see, I am NOT, by nature, a neat freak–this trait has recently been imposed upon me.   In fact, I’m something quite a bit on the other side of the spectrum.  My mother couldn’t teach me to be this neat.  My father couldn’t.  Even my patient wife has all but given up on me being neat.

But my realtor?  She was somewhat more successful.  I believe her words to us were, “Now, are you going to be the kind of a family that needs a whole day’s notice before we show your house, or one hour’s notice?”   I eagerly said, “Have them call us any time.  We can be ready for a showing in 15 minutes!”

Yep, we’re trying to sell our house.  And even my wife, who likes things generally more clean than I do, is feeling the strain.  (Being a Lert can get old after a while!)

If we’re ever to sell our house, we’ve got to keep things in tip top shape.   We want people to experience this home as a thing of beauty, and so I find myself going against my own human nature for the sake of the Big Picture.

It’s got me wondering…

Does God expect me to be this clean in my spiritual life?  Does God expect me to be super assertive and mindful of my own sins and shortcomings?  If so, then being a Christian is a lot more work than many of us realize.   Every day, saying my prayers, reading my Bible?  Every day, helping those in need, loving my neighbors and even my enemies?  Every day, staying vigilant about discipleship? That’s hard! Especially for those of us whose human nature inclines them to be a little bit lazier.

I guess the Good News is that Christ is a bit like our realtor.   Helping us figure out how to get the most out of life.  Holding us to some standards.  Helping us make our lives worth showing to others.

Truth be told,  we’re about six weeks in now, and I’ve gotten in the groove a bit.   I’ve made my bed for the most consecutive days in my life, I’m sure.  And even though there’s stress as we wonder when somebody will buy our place (3517 SW Westport Drive Topeka, KS, in case you’re looking!), my wife and I are trying hard not to freak out.   After all, certainly there are advantages to living in a spotless house, just as there are advantages to trying to live a spotless life.

And when we fall short, Christ is ready to forgive us and help us clean up and move on.

That’s good to know…

Because you should see my office!

Have a Great Week,

Mitch